AAA (video game industry)

AAAtriple-AAAA gamestriple AAAA titlesAAA gameAAA video gameAAA titleAAA contractAAA developers and publishers
AAA (pronounced "triple-A") is an informal classification used for video games produced and distributed by a mid-sized or major publisher, typically having higher development and marketing budgets.wikipedia
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Season pass (video gaming)

season passExpansion PassCharacter Pass
In the mid 2010s the term AAA+ began to be used to describe AAA type games that generated additional revenue over time in a similar fashion to MMOs by using software as a service (SaaS) methods, such as season passes or expansion packs.
By 2014, season passes had become "ubiquitous" in AAA games, due to their popularity amongst gamers.

Indie game

indieindependentindie games
The same conditions also drove the growth of the indie game scene at the other end of the development spectrum, where lower costs enabled innovation and risk taking.
There is no exact, widely accepted definition of what constitutes an "indie game", outside of such games falling well outside the bounds of triple-A video game development by large publishers and development studios.

Seventh generation of video game consoles

seventh generationSeventh generation eraseventh generation consoles
By the seventh generation of video game consoles (late 2000s) AAA game development on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game consoles typically cost in the low tens of millions of dollars ($15 to 20m) for a new game, with some sequels having even higher total budgets - for example Halo 3 is estimated to have had a development cost of $30m, and a marketing budget of $40m.
Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) as one of the AAA titles to release initially in the seventh generation of video game consoles, it was highly anticipated preceding its release. It was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised the story, presentation and open world gameplay. It broke industry sales records by earning US $800 million in the first 24 hours of its release, and $1 billion within its first three days, making it the fastest selling entertainment product in history.

Blockbuster (entertainment)

blockbusterblockbustersblockbuster film
The term is analogous to the film industry term "blockbuster".
AAA game, equivalent term in the videogame industry

CD Projekt

CD Projekt RedOptimusMarcin Iwinski
The term "AAA+" has been used by independent video game company CD Projekt in an attempt to promote their new content as being of a very high quality, despite being technically an indie game; additionally the term has been used with a different meaning to figuratively describe AAA games with additional methods of revenue generation, generally through purchases in addition to the cost of the base game.
Its mission is to offer games free of digital rights management (DRM) to players and its service was expanded to cover new AAA and independent games.

Video game

video gamesgamevideogame
AAA (pronounced "triple-A") is an informal classification used for video games produced and distributed by a mid-sized or major publisher, typically having higher development and marketing budgets.

Video game publisher

publisherpublishedpublishers
AAA (pronounced "triple-A") is an informal classification used for video games produced and distributed by a mid-sized or major publisher, typically having higher development and marketing budgets.

Software as a service

SaaSsoftware-as-a-serviceSoftware as a Service (SaaS)
In the mid 2010s the term AAA+ began to be used to describe AAA type games that generated additional revenue over time in a similar fashion to MMOs by using software as a service (SaaS) methods, such as season passes or expansion packs.

Expansion pack

expansionexpansionsexpansion packs
In the mid 2010s the term AAA+ began to be used to describe AAA type games that generated additional revenue over time in a similar fashion to MMOs by using software as a service (SaaS) methods, such as season passes or expansion packs.

Xbox 360

X360360Microsoft Xbox 360
By the seventh generation of video game consoles (late 2000s) AAA game development on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game consoles typically cost in the low tens of millions of dollars ($15 to 20m) for a new game, with some sequels having even higher total budgets - for example Halo 3 is estimated to have had a development cost of $30m, and a marketing budget of $40m.

PlayStation 3

PS33Sony PlayStation 3
By the seventh generation of video game consoles (late 2000s) AAA game development on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game consoles typically cost in the low tens of millions of dollars ($15 to 20m) for a new game, with some sequels having even higher total budgets - for example Halo 3 is estimated to have had a development cost of $30m, and a marketing budget of $40m.

Halo 3

Halo-likeLegendary Editionpost-launch additions to ''Halo 3
By the seventh generation of video game consoles (late 2000s) AAA game development on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game consoles typically cost in the low tens of millions of dollars ($15 to 20m) for a new game, with some sequels having even higher total budgets - for example Halo 3 is estimated to have had a development cost of $30m, and a marketing budget of $40m.

White paper

white paperswhitepaperpolicy paper
According to a whitepaper published for EA games (Dice Europe) the seventh generation saw a contraction in the number of video game developing houses creating AAA level titles, reducing from an estimated 125 to around 25, but with a roughly corresponding fourfold increase in staffing required for game development.

Electronic Arts

EAEA GamesEA Tiburon
According to a whitepaper published for EA games (Dice Europe) the seventh generation saw a contraction in the number of video game developing houses creating AAA level titles, reducing from an estimated 125 to around 25, but with a roughly corresponding fourfold increase in staffing required for game development.

Intellectual property

intellectual property rightsIPintellectual properties
During the seventh generation, AAA (or "blockbuster") games had marketing at a similar level to high-profile films, with television, billboard and newspaper advertising; a corresponding increasing reliance of sequels, reboots and similarly franchised IP was also seen, in order to minimize risk.

Grand Theft Auto V

GTA VGTA 5Grand Theft Auto: iFruit
Costs at the end of the generation had risen as high as the hundreds of millions of dollars - the estimated cost of Grand Theft Auto V was ~$265m.

Radical Entertainment

369 InteractiveBlood LinesRadical Ent.
The failure of a single game to meet production costs could lead to the closure of a studio - Radical Entertainment was closed by parent Activision despite selling an estimated 1 million units on console in a short period after release.

Activision

Activision ValueActivision Publishing, Inc.Activision, Inc.
The failure of a single game to meet production costs could lead to the closure of a studio - Radical Entertainment was closed by parent Activision despite selling an estimated 1 million units on console in a short period after release.

Focus group

focus groupsdiscussion groupsfocus testing
Ubisoft game director Alex Hutchinson described the AAA franchise model as potentially harmful, stating he thought it led to either focus group tested products aimed at maximizing profit, and or a push towards ever higher graphics fidelity and impact at a cost of depth or gameplay.

Eighth generation of video game consoles

eighth generationeighth generation consoleseighth-generation consoles
The eighth generation of video game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U) saw further increases in costs and staffing - at Ubisoft AAA game development involved 400 to 600 persons for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries.

PlayStation 4

PS44Sony PlayStation 4
The eighth generation of video game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U) saw further increases in costs and staffing - at Ubisoft AAA game development involved 400 to 600 persons for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries.

Xbox One

XBOXONEOne
The eighth generation of video game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U) saw further increases in costs and staffing - at Ubisoft AAA game development involved 400 to 600 persons for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries.

Wii U

WiiUNintendo Wii UNintendo Wii U eShop
The eighth generation of video game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U) saw further increases in costs and staffing - at Ubisoft AAA game development involved 400 to 600 persons for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries.

Ubisoft

Ubi SoftUbisoft Abu DhabiUbisoft Paris
The eighth generation of video game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U) saw further increases in costs and staffing - at Ubisoft AAA game development involved 400 to 600 persons for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries.

Open world

sandboxopen-worldsandbox game
The eighth generation of video game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U) saw further increases in costs and staffing - at Ubisoft AAA game development involved 400 to 600 persons for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries.